PNS Daily Newscast - July 23, 2019 

A bipartisan deal reached to avert U.S. government default. Also on our Tuesday rundown: a new report calculates the high hospital costs for employers. Plus, new legislation could help protect Florida's at-risk wildlife.

Daily Newscasts

Worker Organization “Prevents” Second Wave of Sandy Victims

Photo: Day laborers at worker safety training session at the Freeport Trailer prior to Sandy. Credit: CoLoKi
Photo: Day laborers at worker safety training session at the Freeport Trailer prior to Sandy. Credit: CoLoKi
October 29, 2013

NEW YORK – There is no second wave of victims from Sandy today, one year after the massive storm hit, because local advocates say many workers doing the cleanup work had prior safety training.

Some of the training sessions took place at the Freeport Trailer on Long Island, where Liz O'Shaughnessy, president and program director of the Long Island day laborer advocacy group
CoLoKi, says day laborers come to find work, and thankfully in advance of Sandy they also received training on worker-safety issues.

"There were obviously some dangerous situations that had to be accomplished,” she says. “And just by empowering them with the knowledge they were able to go in there and protect themselves and hopefully avoid any kind of future health issues."

O'Shaughnessy says many of these workers are immigrants who don't speak a lot of English, so it was especially important that they were organized before the storm.

As a result, she says they received accurate information about health risks from mold, when safety gear was needed and when they simply had to say no if a work situation posed too many hazards.

O'Shaughnessy adds the rebuilding effort continues to provide work and respect for many day laborers.

"People are recognizing the value of having this workforce,” she explains. “Not only were they extremely important in the cleanup efforts, but I am happy to say that there are a lot of more skilled workers still going to work – helping to rebuild the community and surrounding areas."

On the one-year anniversary of Sandy, O'Shaughnessy says she is especially happy to see that President Barack Obama has put immigration reform back on the front burner.

"It's a very, very important issue primarily for the people who need the reform, but also for our country as a whole and for our economy,” she says, “and to start moving forward, making it a better place, a better life for everyone. "

O'Shaughnessy says the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH), Make the Road New York and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network were among the groups that provided training.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY